One Sunday night, early on in my college days at the University of Illinois, when University Food Service was closed up tight and friends were scarce and my roommate was gone, I ordered a pizza which I determined to “eat with Jesus.”
That’s about all I can say about that evening, except that I remember sitting across from the pizza enjoying it…and praying.
I wouldn’t do that today, not that there was anything at all wrong with what I did some thirty years ago. But today, if I was alone for the evening and I wanted to pray and eat pizza, I would probably separate the two – perhaps take a walk and pray, and then come home and eat the pizza watching TV.
But for whatever reason that Sunday evening three decades ago, I ate a pizza with Jesus.
And this memory comes back to me because of the fascinating verse that caught my attention today:
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (ESV)
In the previous chapter, he had encouraged the Thessalonians about fellow believers who had died or “fallen asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:14), and now he is returning to that idea. And he is saying that whether “awake or asleep,” literally whether alive or dead, we live with Jesus.
Isn’t that a glorious way to think about your life today? If you are a Christian, not only is there coming a day when because of Christ’s sacrifice, we will “meet the Lord the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17 ESV), but because of what he has done, today each one of us is…living with Jesus. It makes me think of what the writer of Hebrews said as he began to close out his letter:
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
I love that. So, I think of the single adult who often feels so alone, and yet…is not. Or similarly, the single mom or dad, who feels very alone in raising kids, and yet…praise God…is not, and mind you, never will be.
And I imagine that all of us – at least occasionally – go through times where, despite perhaps even being surrounded by people, for whatever reason, we feel alone.
But we believers…are never alone.
For we live with him.
For tomorrow, Friday, August 21: 2 Thessalonians 1